Interesting Pages You should look at

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

DIY Bathroom lights

 My house is getting older.  It's still in good shape, but there are a few places that could use some help.  I was at home depot not too long back and saw these really cool $40 kits to remake bathroom light - just like the ones I have.  I cant find them again.  In a state of  'boredom' I decided I was going to experiment.  With nothing more than a can of black spray paint this is what I did.

Already had this on hand - never know when you will need black spray paint 

The lights before.  The bathroom isn't huge so having all 4 lights shining is overwhelming - I have all 4 bulbs installed - just 1 shining at a time.  It's hard to see, but there is some rust starting to form on the silver plate behind the bulbs.  Doesn't look bad from a distance - but I am picky....

After taking the bulbs out I found out that the round piece that holds the bulbs pulls right off!  How simple!

This is what I was left with when the bulbs, light bulb holder in place thingy and silver plate were removed.

A little spray paint - OUTSIDE - and after an hour it was ready to be installed.

Total time: 1 hour 15 minutes to do this for 3 bathrooms.  I would like to try a different color next time.  Not bad for a quick afternoon 'pick me up'

Monday, April 28, 2014

Minion cupcakes

I have seen several posts for "Minion Cupcakes" and thought they were absolutely adorable.  I also thought they would be really hard to make.  Then I looked at them really hard.  I'm pretty creative - or so I like to think.  With our big banjo show (and bake sale) coming up I thought I would give it a try.

Need:  Cupcakes (homemade or store bought)
            Writing Icing
            Cupcake Icing (homemade or store bought - if you use store bought                                                                  cupcakes you don't even have to ice them)
            Candy eyes or Smarties
            Chocolate Sprinkles

Start with a basic cupcake recipe.  I would share this recipe, but it wasn't fabulous.  It was barely good.

Get a box of twinkies (I used the cheap brand) and cut them in half.

Use this Writing Icing (or another brand)

Do NOT use this stuff

Using your writing icing, draw a line (for the goggles) around the top quarter of the twinkie

Now decide how many eyes your Minion will have.  I made two eyes on this guy.  Don't over do it on the icing, otherwise his eyes will run and move.  If your kiddos are helping and they get a bit carried away with the icing, just let it dry a bit before adding the eyeballs.

Now, Add your eyes.  I already had candy eyes (I ordered them online years ago), but I have also seen them at craft stores and even Kroger.  If you don't want to buy candy eyes, just use a smartie or two and put a drop of writing icing in the middle for the pupel.

Now give him a mouth.  You can see that the icing was a little crazy here on the goggles.

 Ice your cupcakes while your Minions are drying.

When the icing (on the Minion) has fully dried (about 30 minutes - the longest 30 minutes ever!!), put the Minion on top of the cupcake.

Using chocolate sprinkles, give your Minion hair.  In this photo you see I did the hair before putting the Minion on the cupcake.  Trust me, it's so much easier when he is upright.

This is my army of Minions.  How cute are they!?

Then I had a FANTASTIC idea!  Since I am making these to sell at a banjo show..... why not teach them to play ukulele?

These were not only a huge hit with the kids, but the other banjo moms, teens, and even the older folks that came to watch the show.  It was SOOOOO easy to make.  I actually made six dozen in just a few hours.  The longest and hardest part was 1) letting the cupcakes cool before icing them, and 2) letting the goggles dry before setting the Minions on the cake.


Sunday, April 27, 2014

What Passages Should be Memorized

It doesn't matter where you begin.   God desires for us to HIDE his Word in our hearts.  Why? So we will not sin against Him (Psalm 119:11).  You can use the list I have provided, an Awana book, the list in your Bible (either in the front or back), or just pick one that means something to you.  

Establishing a schedule of memory passages for each grade/year, such as the sample listed below, has several advantages. 

A primary advantage is that material learned in previous years can be easily reviewed. A frequent failure in memorization is that what is learned  at one point is not retained. So, apart from good mental exercise, memorization was not too beneficial.

Memorization of entire books of the Bible is also valuable, in that it helps give some extra incentive over learning isolated passages. There is a sense of accomplishment in having learned an entire book of the Bible. To avoid losing interest, you would be wise to begin with the shortest books.

Awana Truth Scripts - My favorite has been James 1:2-12.  I recite it daily during temptations or trouble.

Sample list provided by Rod and Staff Publications:

Matthew 6:9-15
Ephesians 6:13
Psalm 117
Matthew 2:18-20

Luke 2:8-16
Psalm 23
1 John 2:15-17
John 4:1-6
Galatians 5:22-26

Psalm 100
John 1:1-12
Hebrews 11:1-7
Matthew 7:13-20
Matthew 28:1-10
Psalm 121
Psalm 136:1-9

Genesis 1:1-5
Matthew 5:1-16
Matthew 6:24-34
Psalm 46
Exodus 20:1-17
Psalm 96
Proverbs 4:1-13
1 Thessalonians 5:15-23
Psalm 19
Proverbs 4:14-27

John 14:1-21
1 Corinthians 13
Psalm 24
Ephesian 6:10-18
Psalm 8
Philippians 4:4-20
Psalm 107:23-31
Matthew 22:37-39
Psalm 119:1-16
Psalm 122
Hebrews 11:6-10
Psalm 27
Proverbs 3:1-16

One of the great things about technology is that there are dozens of resources to help you remember anything.  Memorization helps us stay closer to God (and fight Alzheimers when we get old).  Here are a few resources I have enjoyed.  The first three have helped me personally.  The third is one I use at Awana to help one of my girls remember her verses.

More Resources:

Friday, April 25, 2014


I have big dogs.  One is an Akita.  He has a LOT of fur.  Summer time in Houston is miserable for him.  We adopted him, otherwise I think it is unfair to have a dog like that this far south.  He loves ice cream.  Problem is, I know dairy is not good for dogs, neither is sugar.  We also know that all three of the dogs like popsicles.  Who doesn't like popsicles when it's 100 degrees outside?

We bought some 'sugar-free' popsicles on sale at Kroger - but I don't particularly like buying that kind of stuff.  For $1.00 for a box of 24 - I'm sold!  Then I had a great idea for the dogs....

After boiling a chicken (or any meat) save the juice.

Put that juice in a popsicle mold (ice cube tray)

Instant puppy treat.  They love it!   I even left a few pieces of meat in there for them :)

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Dragon Cake

I found this fantastic cake on Pinterest.   My son saw it a few days before his birthday and decided that this is what he wanted for his birthday cake.  The only problem - no directions!  I like to think I am pretty crafty and can figure things out, so I tried.  Learn from my experience.

I used a store bought angel food cake.  Cut it in half so it is half as thick.  Then cut the cake in half so you have two letter "C's". 
UPDATE - this was way too thick for a strawberry shortcake.  When you cut the cake by the thickness, do it in thirds or even fourths. 

Stack the pieces and form a 'snake'. 

UPDATE - it came out so cute!  Now I want to make other shapes for the girls - a rainbow, flower, peace sign.....

Take off the top layer and put on a layer of whipping cream.  I used a cookie press - just to make it look pretty - and cool whip

After the cool whip is done on the bottom layer, slice strawberries and layer them on the cake.  I used my moms strawberry slicer, but if you use a knife just slice the berries very thin.
Then so the same to the top layer of cake (this could be done with ANY cake!  oh the possibilities!)

Then I took a full (really pretty berry) and used  it as the head

I used a knife to make a teeny tiny slit for the eyes and 'tongue'.  I took a leaf from one of the berries and put it in a slit for the tongue and small pieces of leaf for the eyes. I would have used candy eyes, but I left them at home.
 Since it was a birthday cake we then put in candles.  It looked like a Chinese dragon when the lights were out and the candles were lit.  My son loved it.

UPDATE:  This needs to be assembled the day OF the party so the cool whip doesn't soak through the cake.  I made it about an hour before dinner and everything was yummy after dinner.    As previously mentioned, cut the cake thin so you have a good ratio of cool whip, strawberries and cake.  I cut it way too thick and ended up putting more whipping cream and strawberries on everyone's slice.

Monday, April 21, 2014

The day we found Ted

On our way to check out a new co op this morning, I was driving down Clear Lake City Blvd.
It's not a huge road, but with 4 lanes of traffic at rush hour - I don't want to walk in the middle of it!  This particular part of the road goes over a small creek.  It's been really, really dry lately.  Well, I noticed in front of me - a turtle!

Well, everyone in our house is an animal lover - so I stopped.  If I didn't stop my kids (and conscience) would make me feel guilty forever.  I stopped in the middle of the road, turned on my 4-ways and stopped traffic.  I let my son get out (on the safe side) and grab this turtle.

Knowing that turtles can bite, he kept the head facing away from his body, and hands toward the rear.  It seems that the turtle had some water in his shell - as soon as the slow moving reptile was tilted, water drained from the shell. I had to laugh.  It appeared that the reptile was peeing on my son!  :)

We took the turtle in the truck and put him on a towel.  We didn't want any more water to drain on to the seat.  Then we drove over to an abandoned golf course with a creek running through it.  It only took a few minutes to turn the truck around and get to this area.

On the way,and while finding the 'perfect' place to release Ted - being the good home school mom I am - we looked up all kinds of information including what kind of turtle it was.  I even learned a lot from the short time we researched Ted and his species.

Although he was with our family for just a short time, we will always remember Ted the Turtle :)

Every day is an adventure with kids :)

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Taxes and Medical Bills

I have three children.  We have a family doctor, specialist, blood doc, orthopedist, podiatrist, dentist, eye doc, emergency room and a few others on our regular schedule.  Keeping up with prescriptions, miles driven, co pays, bills and otc meds is a bit of a hassle.  I usually just put them all in a folder and deal with them at tax time.  Ugh.

Then, about two years ago, I started keeping up with them every few weeks.  This made things so much easier.  Instead of several hours once a year, I spend about ten minutes once a week putting records into the computer for later use.  I try to do this after every appointment, but you know how that goes....

I have an excel file that works wonderfully.  Then, after each receipt or visit has been entered into the file, I can put it into the tax folder labeled "entered" for this year.  Now I have no more piles on my desk (or if I do, they are much, much smaller), and I don't dread tax time.

This is really a very simple file.  I can email you a copy if you would like.  It simply has the date, how many miles were driven (r.t. = round trip) who and what the expense was for and how much it cost.

Down at the bottom I have a running total of how many miles have been driven for the year and how much the total expenses have been for the year so far.

Yes, this is an actual copy.  I don't have all the receipts in for this year yet (that's why there are a few blank spaces) but you can see all the miles and dollars already used trying to keep everyone healthy.

Also, for tax deductible donations - ie good will, church, awana, compassion international.... I use

I enjoy using this because with every receipt, I can keep up with what was donated.  I am that crazy person who always itemizes.  This is the easiest way I have found to do it.  After each donation to Good will (make a list of everything  you are donating) I simply enter it into this website, then import it into Turbo Tax when I do my taxes.  Done in just seconds (when I file.  It only takes a few minutes with each large donation.) 

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Failure to Recall

What do you do if you find during a review that a child does not remember what he (supposedly) had learned?  I had a student this year that said 80 verses in 2 short months. I was impressed. I knew he was capable of it when he tried. Then we started quizzing and reviewing. He didn't know any of them.

Not one verse could be recalled. We had to start back at square one.
Have the student reread and repeat the passage multiple times. Select larger and larger portions to repeat without looking.

Connect thoughts between words, phrases, clauses and verses by emphasizing the meaning of the thoughts and how they relate to each other. You can do this by asking questions about the verses (who, what, where, when, why, how).

For example, with John 3:16: What did God do? What will we have if we believe in Jesus?  What will not happen to believers? Who died?  Who was sent?  Who sent Jesus? When did this happen?  When will we be saved?  Why was Jesus sent?

Students will not only get a better meaning of the verse, but they will also recall the answers as they are reviewing. This will cause them to remember what comes next as well as the meaning of the verse.

Apps are examples of some that can be found on most smartphones and tablets.  I do not necessarily endorse these specific ones or have tried them.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Family Disaster Plan

Living anywhere on Earth, you have to be prepared for a natural disaster.  Fortunately, in Houston we do not have tidal waves, tsunamis, earthquakes, or many tornadoes.  Most of the disaster that happen are fires, floods, and hurricanes.  Not saying I would prefer one over the other, but at least with floods and hurricanes you get a bit of time to prepare.

I have previously posted about having a hurricane kit, but what about writing down your plan, updating it, and making sure that your entire family knows the plan.

Along the journey of adoption, we are supposed to do just this.  Where do you start?  I have an easy start for you.  The American Red Cross already has a pdf to get you started.

Also, try Ready Set Go kits.  Not only will you find a plan for your family,  you will also find one for your pets.  You can also find info on how to turn off your gas, water, electricity, ideas on how to teach kids to PROPERLY call 9-1-1, and much, much more.

Even if you are not on the journey to adoption, this is something that could help keep the calm and maybe save a life.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Memory Review

When passages are learned, you have established a good basis upon which to help build the rest of the memory structure. However, the remaining portion is just as important as the original learning foundation.

To assure proper and adequate review, make out a schedule of learning and review that will tell you, every time you have 'class,' just what will be learned and what portions will be reviewed.

Since forgetting sets in almost immediately after learning, the sooner a passage can be reviewed after the original learning of it, the better. Therefore, what has been learned should be reviewed once or more times each day for many days after originally learning it. After all, why memorize if you are just going to forget it in a month?

In planning your memory schedule, divide the class time into two or three sections, depending on the ability of the children. If you feel the children are capable, new material can be learned each day. This could be the first part of the class. The second part could be daily reviews - reviewing portions learned over the past several days. The third part could be reviewing material learned earlier in the year or in previous years. This time could also be used for testing.
If you only have time to split into two sections you do not need to learn new passages every day. In the first part of the class, you can alternate learning new material with the review of "older" passages. As the second part, have tour daily reviews.

Whatever plan you use, your overall emphasis should not be only learning new passages, but the solid retention of older ones.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Adventures in Adoption - Weekend 3

Wow.  I knew that this would be an emotional roller coaster, but really?! Really?  The first two weekends were great.  Then this weekend.  It wasn't bad, just different.

Friday:  I get a call at 8am from Ms Case Worker.  She has 2 boys from diff families that need respite care for the weekend.  We discuss them a bit, she describes them and tells me about what they need; and I ASK "I can take them both?"  She hears - "I can take them both!"  Ok.  No biggie.  I'm a bit scared, but only two this time should be easier than three.

Friday evening rolls around and I take my daughter and her friend to a home school girl get together.  As I am leaving, I get a call.  A placement call.  After hearing about the children I think "I can do this."  Then I am told it is for foster care.  Hubby and I agreed a while ago that we could not do foster care.  I explain that to the Case Worker and we hang up.  Talk about emotional roller coaster!  I get home and do my thing until it is time for my first boy to come; we will call him "A."  A comes about 9 pm.  I talk with foster dad and get him busy playing.  Then I go get my girls from their get together.

Saturday morning - 7 am.  Boy #2 comes over.  We will call him "B."  A was  glad to see another boy in the house.  Both of the boys wanted to play video games, from the moment that A woke up and the moment B walked in the door.  After much protesting and whining, I got them to play in the playroom for a bit before breakfast.  We ate and cleaned up (they are both old enough to help out with their own mess).  Today was a beautiful day - no games.  I kicked everyone out and told them to play on the trampoline, scooter, color with chalk, play in the yard, or climb a tree.  Just get out of the house!  There was a LOT of whining - it's too hot, it's too cold, I'm bored, I don't want to play with this or that....  A came in and played in the play room and decided to have a fit. I'm not sure why, I was in the bathroom. After cursing at Hubby, he got sat down on the sofa for a bit of time out.

My girls had a fashion show and needed to leave at 11:00 to get there and get changed.  B wanted to stay, but A wanted to go - shocker.  I'm sure he just didn't want to be around Hubby and get in trouble again.  The show went well, and A got some game time - on my phone.  I figured this would appease him for a while.  I don't typically give in to whining, but at this point I was getting a headache.  Pick my battles.  This one is not worth fighting.  The girls were planning on having a friend over tonight so we picked up 2 friends on the way home.  After getting frosties we got home to find Hubby, Big Boy and B watching a movie - ugh.  I hate tv.  The girls and A sit and watch as well.  I don't argue.  It's about 2 pm so I go sweep the sidewalks and driveway and start figuring out dinner.

As soon as the movie was over I kicked everyone out again.  A and B beg for video games.  I tell them no games if they don't go out and play until after dinner.  A is not completely potty trained (or has bladder control issues - I'm not sure) and really needs a bath.  I call him in and get him cleaned up.  Still only 5:30.  Dinner is cooking but I want to wear all these kids out.  We go to the park.  The park is only 1/4 mile down the road.  Big Boy walks with A, who is on a scooter.  Baby girl rides her ripstick with her friend running next to her.  I drive B, Big Girl and her friend.  I bring all of B's 6pm meds.  We play for just under an hour.  I am satisfied that they will all sleep well tonight.

We have an earlyish dinner and get everyone else bathed.  We make sure the boys bags are packed for tomorrow and my kids have their things ready for church.  After a 20 minute video game, it's bed time.  We have church in the morning and I don't want to fight with cranky children.  It's about 8pm.  A and B fell asleep pretty quick.

Sunday - This morning came way to quick.  I get up early and shower then got the girls up - they take longer to get ready.  When they are about done Big Boy is ready to start his morning routine.  I let A and B sleep.  About halfway through Big Boys shower A gets up and goes right to the tv.  Nope.  Not gonna happen.  No tv.  We eat breakfast and get ready for church.  After loading up the truck we leave.  Neither A, nor B are happy about leaving the tv.  We get to church and get everyone dropped off.  I am not in the mood to be at church today.  Definitely more stressed than I need to be.  I have never heard so much whining.

After church we go to band practice.  B was picked up at band practice.  Both boys enjoyed listening to the 'big kids' play for a few minutes.  After B left, A and I went to talk to someone about an upcoming fundraiser.  A had the tablet and found games.  Ugh.  Fine.  I understand that practice can get boring if you are not playing.

After band practice we have AWANA.  A didn't want to go.  He also had no idea what it was.  We went.  I like to think that he enjoyed the time there, his leader said he did well.  I never know if kids are Christians or are being told about Jesus, so church is not an option.  We leave Awana and get back to the house.  A needs another bath, and so does my back seat.  Darn.  I don't have a change of clothes for him.  I get a call from foster dad and he is 20 minutes away.  I don't have time to wash his clothes.  We have been getting ready for a garage sale, so I pull out some clothes for him to wear.  He whines (a lot!) that the clothes are too big.  At least they are clean.  Within minutes of getting him dressed, foster dad shows up.  Thank goodness.

I go make a second dinner (we have sandwiches between band and awana on Sundays) for the big kids who say they are still hungry.  I have Hubby and Big Boy make the pizza while I step outside to pray and clear my head for a second.  I just need quiet.  By the time I walk in, Hubby is telling everyone to get in the truck.  He and Big Boy messed up the pizza - now there is cheese all over the oven.  We go get Sonic for dinner.

This weekend did not go as I planned.

Problem #1 - It was my plan.  Not God's.  Every child is a child of God.  I feel like I failed because I was frustrated with the constant whining that I had a hard time loving on him the way I feel I should have.  We were not rude or mean, but not as loving as we could have been - even my kids were getting frustrated.

Problem #2 - I was scared of B.  With all his medical issues, food allergies and the vast amount of medication he is on I was scared to death that something bad would happen.

The last few weeks have been crazy.  Hubby and I decided not to foster because we did not feel that we could emotionally and mentally take in kids, get attached to them, then give them back.  That happened a few weeks ago.  Then we had this weekend.  Total opposites, but both the reason why we didn't think we could handle foster care.  Now we have full confirmation that we are not foster parents.  My bio children are not foster siblings.  We will stick with just adoption.

God made us all different.  I know parents who just provide respite.  I know a woman who cares for terminally ill children (totally  not for me), and some parents who only do foster care.  Then there is us.  I already have children and want more.  I am fully aware that no child is perfect.  They all come with baggage, some more than others.  I am also aware that any child that comes into my home can have a bad day and drive me crazy.  Oh wait! I have three of those already.  I know that God's plan is perfect, but I am surely confused!  I will remind myself of James 1:2-10 until I figure this out.